Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 3 Episode 7


Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Nov 17, 1998 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (23)

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  • Revelations

    This is the best episode of the season so far! My only complaints, which I'll get out of the way right away, are that the pace is a tad too slow until the end and that, even though she puts a lot of effort into gaining everyone's trust, Gwen Post's true motives still don't come as much of a surprise. Giles should have contacted the Watcher's Council for confirmation. Aside from these relatively small complaints, though, this is top-notch entertainment. We get a ton of character development, interesting dialog, and great special effects.

    Putting aside Giles' lack of insight in calling the Watcher's Council, I like Gwen Post's character and her influence on everyone, especially Giles and Faith. Giles feels a bit threatened by her, mainly because she's implying he's gotten too close to his Slayer. This is something that will come up again in "Helpless" (3x12).

    Faith says you can't trust guys, which echos her feelings in "Beauty and the Beasts" (3x04). In large part due to Gwen's betrayal of her later in the episode, Faith decides that now she can't trust anyone. This turns out to be incredibly important to her development. Gwen is the first piece that begins to put Faith on the dark path. She doesn't trust anyone fully anymore saying "I'm on my side, and that's enough." Buffy correctly responds, "not always," but Faith doesn't give in.

    The other big event happening here involves Xander and his reaction to seeing Angel back and kissing Buffy again. This is obviously very surprising to him and his reaction is suitably worried. This leads to the fantastic 'intervention' scene with Buffy and the gang which is very well acted. I was excited to see Buffy bringing up Xander's jealousy problem as a motivating factor for his behavior. Xander is harsh, but not completely wrong, when he reminds Buffy that she didn't stop Angel from murdering Jenny Calendar in time.

    The 'intervention' scene directly spills into the powerful scene where Giles explains to Buffy that she has no respect for the job he performs because she didn't come to him about Angel immediately. Giles is completely correct here, and Buffy genuinely learns from her mistake. In the future we see Buffy telling Giles her secrets a whole lot sooner and trusting that he will help her through her difficulties instead of judging her.

    Gwen Post spends a ton of time in getting not only the Scoobies, but especially Faith, to trust her. This leads to Faith jumping to conclusions when Xander spills the beans on Angel's return. Faith wants to kill Angel and it makes complete sense that Xander wants in on the opportunity. This is even more evidence that Xander lied to Buffy in "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22) because he didn't want Angel resouled. To Xander's credit, though, he knew Angel didn't hurt Giles and 'attempted' to talk Faith out of rushing out blindly based on wrong assumptions to kill Angel.

    I really appreciated the dialog between Buffy and Willow on secrets. Buffy admits that keeping her secret was extremely uncomfortable and didn't make what her and Angel were doing any sexier. She also reveals that she feels much better now that it's out in the open.

    The special effects for the glove were fantastic. I don't love this show because of the action and effects, but when I see something that was really well done, I feel the need to point it out. The ending fight and Gwen's death scene were also incredibly exciting to watch. So all in all, this is a near perfect episode which manages to put the characters' motivations for the rest of the season in motion.
  • Evil Watcher


    The Good;

    A great performance from Serena Scott Thomas (when you know she's Kristin's sister the resemblance is starling). Some excellent action scenes and love the idea of the glove.

    The Bad;Not much, strong ep

    Best line;

    Post; (of Giles) There's talk in the council that you've become too American

    Buffy; HIM?

    Character death; Buffy kills Gwendoline, her first human. Faith comments that she has a problem with her authority figures who keep ending up dead. She's right, her mum, first Watcher, Post, The Mayor, Wes, Lilah and Lindsay all end up dead. If I was Giles I'd watch out (as we see in the comics...SOB!)

    Knocked out; Angel, Willow, Giles and Xander which must be something of a record

    Women good/men bad; Faith comments that you can't trust guys when relating her past boyfriends to Buffy.

    Kinky dinky; Cordy remarks that Xander is trying to give her a lapdance. Faith's motto is 'Get some, get gone'. She refers to Buffy 'boinking the undead' which I suppose is technically necrophilla.

    Calling Captain Subtext; Buffy hinting that she and Faith are 'going out' together. Doug Petrie always keen to play the lesbian angle. The scene where Faith disparages her past boyfriends to Buffy could easily be interpreted as her chatting her up whilst her antipathy to Angel could be seen as jealousy

    Questions and observations;Exactly what possible use would the Labryinth maps of Malta be in Sunnydale? Does Giles know about Willow and Xander? His expression suggests he does. Note Oz doesn't say a word during the confrontation scene in the library. Personally I find little good to say about the Spartans who on the whole were a horrible bunch. Post tries to train Faith in the traditional Slayer way (like Kendra) but it's Buffy's links to humanity that actually keeps her alive. The beginning of Faith's eventual alienation. Buffy rather dresses like Jackie-O in the final scene. Really what is the point of having a glove that you can't take off even if it gives you the ability to throw lightning bolts? What's she going to do, shroud it in bandages and pretend it's a cast?

    8/10 strong ep although not brilliant

  • If only they had more time to develop some of the ideas here more.

    This episode and its successor can be argued as the end of the beginning phase of the season. With that, it could've been easy to have this change addressed in a two-parter much like "What's My Line" last season. However, the second episode's main story deserved its own episode rather than subjected as a subplot in two. Even with the good pay off moments, this episode ends up messy and a little rushed in some places.

    Following Faith's first Watcher's grisly murder by Kakistos, it seemed like the council was content with having Giles perform double duty training the slayers. This episode at first appeared to answer what the process is for getting a new Watcher to a slayer, but that wasn't the case with the twist. They would deal with that, but later in the season.

    There is a critical story flaw: wouldn't Giles' have known Gwendolyn was no longer a part of the Watcher's Council if she was fired a few years ago? It is pre Google, Facebook and Wikipedia, but why didn't he contact the Council (or vice versa) to make sure everything was proper? It should've been more appropriate to have her still be a Council member, but hiding a secret agenda in obtaining the glove.

    Faith's estrangement from the group becomes more tangible in this episode. As it's been hinted, she didn't have support before she became a slayer, so making friends with Buffy made up for that. However, Gwendolyn plants doubt about her position in the gang. Not including her in the intervention, while it might've been appropriate since she wasn't around, sends a message that could be read that the gang doesn't accept her as one of them. The problem is that this trust between Gwendolyn and Faith isn't earned enough to make this move as profound as it needs to be. Gwendolyn doesn't have time to take Faith under her wing, nor does she have a similar personality which would win Faith over.

    The biggest sign of Faith's lack of empathy occurs en route to killing Angel with Xander. While Xander is motivated by his jealousy (and maybe a little interested in Faith), he backs up when he finds Giles seriously hurt and holds back to get him an ambulance. However Faith doesn't think twice about leaving him to die, using slayer duties as an excuse. Buffy wouldn't make the choice to sacrifice someone like that for the sake of the kill, another representation of Faith as the Slayer Buffy wouldn't allow herself to be. Faith isn't completely lost though, as she seemed to reach out to Buffy, albeit very briefly in the end, but clearly there are dark times ahead for her until she can reach out to others.

    Besides her relationship with Faith, Gwendolyn's motivations about getting the glove (besides wanting to blow stuff up with lightning) are never fully explained. Unfortunately the Lagos demon is wasted as well, barely a blip before Buffy dispatches him. Another episode could've fleshed this out more.

    Short term, Gwendolyn does very well in challenging the Giles and Buffy relationship. Obviously they have grown close like a father and daughter, but Giles' job is to train her to kill demons and vampires. While there have been some minor tensions since Buffy came back, he doesn't start to question her judgment until this episode. Once Angel's return comes out in the least comfortable manner possible, Gwendolyn's criticism gains considerable weight.

    The intervention is how the catharsis in "Dead Man's Party" should've played out. Each of the characters' reactions reflect who they are, instead of them acting inconsiderately to create a scene with awkward fighting. Giles is betrayed that she would place above him the man who murdered his love and then tortured him for kicks. People will assume Xander's motivations will always been driven by his jealousy rather than what's right. Having the characters bring that out in the open made for great drama. It's also good to show that they haven't forgotten what Jenny's death did to the group and Giles in particular. It's surprising no one considered maybe Buffy lied about sending Angel to hell since they don't know how he returned. Of course, Willow's going to be sympathetic towards Buffy's predicament as she's in a similar jam. With Buffy in the dog house, she's not likely to come clean about it anytime soon. It's a shame it gets resolved by the end of the episode.

    There are some problems that hinder the episode's climax. The Faith and Buffy fight had too many shots where it was clear the stunt people were on camera rather than the actresses. Obviously the stunt people do the more dangerous moves, but they've done better at hiding that. This fight is a key moment: the first between Buffy & Faith, but the impact is diminished because of poor editing.

    Then there's the end, where Buffy slices off Gwendolyn's arm, causing the heavens to vaporize her. It's more the method than the amputation itself that's awkward. Is it possible for even a sharp shard of glass to slice off someone's arm that way? Cutting through the flesh would work, but I think that it'd have to be faster than anything Buffy could throw would cut bone clean off. If only Lagos' axe was still handy.

    This may be one of the few instances where Buffy shows bruising after a fight. Considering the routine beatings, it's shocking that that didn't happen more often, but with the story, perhaps keeping it was meant to be metaphorical for the pain Faith is in being unable to trust anyone.

    Overall this episode needed some expansion to make some of the moments too rushed to be really effective. Unfortunately they had a bigger idea for what device they would use for the other key turning points at this point in the season. Regardless, what follows this episode and where the characters go in the rest of the season make up for the faults in the road getting there.
  • Revelations

    Revelations was an outstanding episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This story sets future events into motion especially with Faith. I think this episode is where she really stopped trying and stopped caring about people who only betray or disappoint her. There was a little gang intervention for Buffy after Zander witnessed her and Angel kissing. There were truely a lot of revelations in this episode. It was a very unique story and has key moments essential to the Buffy Experience. I really look forward to seeing what happens in the next episodes to follow. The characters pull you in to their world and make you feel as though you have a stake. Intended.
  • Season 3, Episode 7.

    Faith is put under the care of a new watcher, Gwendolyn Post, a proper Englishwoman. Xander discovers Buffy and Angel kissing and informs everyone, which causes them to express their concerns for her.

    First off, I hated one fact of this episode. The fact that everyone disliked Buffy for not telling them about Angel when it wasn't their business and they shouldn't have ambushed Buffy like that. She knows what she's doing and her love life isn't their business. Eliza Dushku looked so different in the '90s as compared to when she did in Tru Calling or at the end of Buffy. Cool episode.
  • Xander learns a secret.

    I love the intervention that is done in this episode between the gang, all of their reactions are hilarious and I love how Xander just jumps to all the worst conclusions. I think Giles's anger is really well placed because Buffy really does think that she can do whatever she wants when it concerns Angel. Willow's "I" statement speech is great as well and shows her playing the middle ground. Faith's new watcher also brings problems as she isn't as good as she pretends to be and all of her efforts to show up Giles end up with her being evil. Faith going to kill Angel also plays out very well and sets up their tumultuous relationship.
  • a new watcher comes to town and the scoobies found out about angel. how much more drama can u get?

    this episode is great when the gang found out about angel coming back and faith feeling left out.this episode was a bit shocking. here we can see how much xander hate angel. also a new (evil) watcher came to town and is actually smarter than giles. makes me wonder just how dum giles is compare to the other council members as the new watcher cant be very smart to meddle in dark magics. even though xander hated angel, he didn't wanted angel to die. he told where faith went ahen buffy asked. he could have not tell and angel most probably would have die. its funny how all the gang trusted the new wacher so much. just show how gullible we all are.
  • Don't Mention This Intervention

    Revelations-Xander finds out about Angel's return to Sunnydale and promptly informs the gang who confront Buffy with the fear that he may turn evil again. Meanwhile Faith finds herself under the wing of a new Watcher, Gwendolyn Post, a prim and proper Englishwoman who seems to be intent on showing up Giles at every turn.

    An episode that excels by bringing tense to the core gang once again as the revelation of Angel's return becomes known to them. The whole cast does an exceptional job as each has a vaired reaction to the news that Angels back as well as Buffy lieing to them. Xander becomes a **** once again by acting Buffy about how she be so careless after what happened with Angel before. Actually, Xander's undying hatred toward Angel is at it's most extreme as he becomes quite cold during this hour even gettiing Faith involved as they both team up to kill Angel. Willow is divided on the matter wanting to understand both sides. Giles is angry, confused and ultimately dissappointed in Buffy for keeping such a secret from him after what Angelus put him through. But the error amoung everyone's logic is that Angel and Angelus are 2 different people. Angel was not responsible for his actions when he had no soul, especially as he had no choice in the matter.

    The center plot is watchable and the appearence of Gwendolyn Post was entertaining. Her scenes with Giles were quite funny yet it was obvious her intentions would end of being evil mid-way through the episode. The best past of the storyline is how Faith gets more screentime and some ncie little development as the new slayer on block feels she is the outsider among her new allies in Sunnydale. There were also some great fight scenes like the one with Buffy and Lagos in the cemetary as well as Buffy and Faith's fight at the mansion. I mean, we've seen slayers fight each before, but never for this long and intense. The fight choregraphy was excellent throughout that sequence. The special effects were stunning as Gwendoylne Post uses the Glove of Mynagon to summon lightning and shoots it at any target she aims at. All and All, a great episode with intense scenes, top notch fights and special effects that are pure eye-candy.
  • I don't like Faith's new watcher. She's horrid.

    I think Willow and Xander need to discuss this whole “thing” that’s between them before something terrible happens. In the beginning it’s funny, but will only go downhill from there. Buffy’s timing and Faith’s timing into the Scooby’s conversation was so good. Synchronized slaying, that’s a new one. I don’t like Miss Post and clearly I was right. I feel bad for Faith. The Fates Above really have it in for her when it comes to watchers. I really think the Scoobies should have let Buffy have her say. There was too much jumping-to-conclusions especially when Giles was found in his office. At least they stopped Post from killing them all.
  • Glove Hurts

    An episode which only really warrants a "meh..." reply if asked about it, Revelations is essentially a masterclass in character assassination, irritating stereotypes and lazy dialogue, with only a couple of scenes that could be considered great.

    Gwendolyn Post is a stereotypical British bad guy, and Serena Scott Thomas' OTT performance is something pretty Charmed-worthy. Her dialogue also plain sucked, from the overuse of phrases like "knackered", her obsession with tea, and the way she put the letter 'l' into everything (creating words like "Amelican" etc.). She was obviously put in the episode to be hated (since her ridiculing of Giles is hardly going to create fans for her), but there's a difference between "love to hate" and "plain hate", and Gwendolyn is always stuck in the latter, being mostly irritating.

    Despite that, I did like the Glove of Myhnegon. The special effects were awesome, and I loved how it locked onto Gwendolyn's wrist. The way Buffy sliced it off (arm and all) with the shard of glass was also pretty inventive, making a decent change from the usual "behead-it, stab-it, stake-it" hooey.

    On the non-demonic front, I doubt anybody will leave the episode without some sense of hatred toward Xander. His reaction to Angel's return (to run and tell everybody) was completely unnecessary, whilst his mean-spirited baiting of Buffy wasn't fun to watch. Like Buffy said, his reaction fully stemmed from his jealousy of their relationship, and, like whenever Angel is involved, he turned into a complete jerk, eventually getting Faith to do his dirty work. Faith can hardly be blamed for what she's done though. Just like Buffy when she first became a slayer, she only knows the black and white of monsters (read: monsters are bad and must be killed), whilst Buffy has already discovered the gray area, which Angel obviously fits into. But Xander, on the other hand, should know better...

    Whilst the episode moved most storylines along (as well as making Faith even more untrustworthy than she already is), Revelations was pretty much disappointing, especially after the awesome two episodes preceding it.

    Director: James A Contner
    Writer: Douglas Petrie
    Rating: C
  • The gang finds out about Angel plus an evil new watcher

    What to say about this one? I didn't like it! Watcher lady got off horrible I didn't like her from the beginning it was a nice twist that she was evil but I just didn't like her.

    The beginning it seemed like Buffy and Faith were getting really close and I liked that, but by the end their relationship had taken a turn for the worst. Watcher lady and Xander both helped in destroying that trust that the two were building.

    I hated Xander here too. I think that the way he handled things with Angel was just terrible. He and Buffy should have talked about that he shouldn't have went running to Giles. Buffy had a point about Xander being jealous because no matter what Xander still has that crush on Buffy. Willow and Xander I don't even know what to say about that. I liked that Willow was about to tell Buffy about it but then chickened out. Willow was really great in this one. She played the supportive friend and she did it well.

    I hated that dreadful Post Woman. I hated how she was trying to pin Faith against Buffy. Faith and Buffy fighting against each other at the end was brilliant though.

    This episode was okay but definitely not my favorite of the season.
  • A new watcher comes to town

    Favorite Quote: Giles: "I won't remind you that the fate of the world often lies with the Slayer. What would be the point? Nor shall I remind you that you've jeopardized the lives of all that you hold dear by harboring a known murderer. But, sadly, I must remind you that Angel tortured me... for hours... for pleasure. You should have told me he was alive. You didn't. You have no respect for me or the job I perform."

    This episode was good. I call it pivotal for 2 reasons: Faith turns in this episode. She sees that she cant trust Buffy anymore because she witheld info about Angels return. Things will never be the same between the slayers. The second reason is the fact that the scoobies and Giles find out about Angel and feel very betrayed and hurt, especially Giles. Buffy knew in her heart it was wrong to hide him, now she has to question WHY she did it. Also, a new Watcher for Faith comes to town and yeah, she is evil. Fortunately Buffy and Faith make short work of her.
  • An evil member of the council

    The news about Angel is broken to the gang, it would have been better coming form Buffy's mouth but at least now Xander has said it, it is out in the open and there will be less tip toeing.

    Gwendolyn Post is the first watcher we meet apart from Giles and she turns out to be obsessed with dark arts. Well the council clearly have a good security system. Have they ever heard of background checks?

    The gang hesitantly accept Angel to be good and you can tell that Xander is just waiting for him to slip up.

    When Buffy severes the arm of Gwendolyn Post you can see how she very quickly accepts that she is evil. Perhaps this is because she never really liked her.
  • faith and buffy fight

    cool episode but a little too annoying. i hate xander and faith and almost all the characters in this episode. but it is goodbuffy fighting faith was cool and the end when they kill the annoying watcher is awesome. a very good episode but also a very annoying episode. i did like the angel and buffy relationshipo and that everyone finally knew that our hero was back
  • A new watcher for Faith has come to town, but she is not who she seems to be. A momentary lapse in intelligence amongst all the Scoobies almost results in the death of Angel and possibly the destruction of the world.

    The emotional element of this episode is the gang's discovery of Buffy's betrayal. You could argue that Buffy had not betrayed her friends. She had not told any lies. She just had not told anyone that Angel had returned. She claims not to have any remaining romantic feelings for him, but the opposite is obvious to everyone except her. She was confused, so she hid the fact that Angel had returned. As far as her friends were concerned, they felt betrayed--especially Giles who was tortured by Angel.

    The eventual confrontation about Angel was inevitable and had been building up ever since his return in Faith, Hope, and Trick. The scripting of the confrontation was clumsy. This is the second episode this season I felt Xander was acting out of character. Yes, he is rash and illogical, but he is not mean-spirited.

    Because of the long anticipated confrontation in this episode, it makes this episode seem significant to fans, but the flimsy story paired with it in Revelations was frivolous. Buffy the Vampire Slayer has created this beautiful mythology about slayers and watchers. This mythology was bruised for me by this episode. Gwendelyn Post shows up claiming to be Faith's new watcher, and everyone accepts on good faith that she is who she claims to be.

    To make a long story short, Post was the bad guy. She had been kicked out of the Watcher Society and came to Sunnydale to wreak havoc with the Glove of Myneghon. One would think that the Watcher Society would issue cards or Giles could have made a phone call to his higher-up or a myriad of other things could have entirely averted the terrible events of this episode. Hopefully the Buffy writers can avert another episode like this from being written. I rate it 4 out of 10.

    -Matthew Miller
    Find this review and more at tv.swingthesickle.com
  • faith and buffy fight

    cool episode but a little too annoying. i hate xander and faith and almost all the characters in this episode. but it is goodbuffy fighting faith was cool and the end when they kill the annoying watcher is awesome. a very good episode but also a very annoying episode. i did like the angel and buffy relationshipo and that everyone finally knew that our hero was back
  • faith and buffy fight

    cool episode but a little too annoying. i hate xander and faith and almost all the characters in this episode. but it is goodbuffy fighting faith was cool and the end when they kill the annoying watcher is awesome. a very good episode but also a very annoying episode. i did like the angel and buffy relationshipo and that everyone finally knew that our hero was back
  • five by five...

    Faith has a new watcher who has come into town. Stuffy and British, kinda like the female Giles. Or what the females Giles should be – the council feels that he is getting too American. Her name is Gwendolyn Post. . Turns out that Gwen is not exactly a watcher. Well she was but she was kicked out due to misuse of dark powers (Giles said the council swears there was a memo). She is only in Sunnydale for the Glove of Myhnegon. Angel is hiding it and more than that Buffy is hiding Angel. But Slowly people are finding out and they are not happy about it. The fight comes down in Angels place after Gwendolyn gets the glove. Angel comes to the rescue and they destroy the glove and turn the bad watcher over to the council.

    Giles: "I won't remind you that the fate of the world often lies with the Slayer. What would be the point? Nor shall I remind you that you've jeopardized the lives of all that you hold dear by harboring a known murderer. But, sadly, I must remind you that Angel tortured me... for hours, for pleasure. You should have told me he was alive. You didn't. You have no respect for me or the job I perform."
  • When Faith's new Watcher appears in Sunnydale she manages to insult Giles into second guessing his effectiveness.

    A wonderful character drama for the gang. Mrs. Post is the exact type of Watcher you love to hate and her scenes where she cuts Giles down are infuriating. The real drama however belongs to Faith and you have to feel sorry for her that she comes to believe in Emily, only to learn that once again she was lied to and Buffy comes out with the better deal. Eliza does some wonderful shading with Faith's character allowing us to peer below her bravado and see the insecure girl beneath.

    The other major storyline is Xander's seeing that not only is Angel back (which Buffy has been hiding) but that she's kissing him again. The scene of the 'intervention' is as brutal as the one previously in which they argued over trying to retry the Gypsy curse.

    In that episode it was Xander who really impressed. In this episode (though Xander is again great...Nicky is scarily good when his character is angry) it's Giles far more quiet scene that sticks with the viewer. Once he has sent everyone out of the library; he goes to his office with Buffy unwisely following behind:

    Buffy: I know this is a lot to absorb, but Angel did find the glove, and that was a good...

    Giles: (interrupts) Be quiet. (sternly) I won't remind you that the fate of the world often lies with the Slayer. What would be the point? Nor shall I remind you that you've jeopardized the lives of all that you hold dear by harboring a known murderer. But sadly, I must remind you that Angel tortured me... for hours... for pleasure. You should have told me he was alive. You didn't. You have no respect for me, or the job I perform.

    It's a quietly powerful scene and you really can't argue with Giles' viewpoint. Of course, in a few episodes, it will be Giles who lacks respect for Buffy...so I guess they end up even.
  • 'Faith, a word of advice. You're an idiot.'

    Once again a pretty good episode, with some excellent special effects, great acting and good storytelling.
    But I can’t say I completely love it, some moments are very painful to watch and nerve-wrecking. Specially between Xander and Faith.

    In this episode we meet Gwendolyn Post, Faith’s new watcher or at least she claims to be.

    The decent storylines were the love affairs, while Willow and Xander are acting all hyper and smooching behind the book cages, Angel and Buffy try to get their hands off each other but always end up close to kissage.

    So anyway, The storyline is about Gwen telling Giles that there is a glove and a demon after it and they have to stop it, while she makes Faith trust her and stay on her leach.

    Sadly this episode has some painfully irritating scenes, thanks to Xander. I really adored his character the past season but he has only been able to annoy me this season. Always hanging about and his anger towards Angel and issues with Buffy. He teams up with Faith to kill Angel that gives me some headaches.

    Besides all that, Gwen has a very different plan. She wants the glove and is capable of doing anything, she smashes Giles’ head and then wears the glove and begins to shoot at everyone in their place including Buffy and Faith that are already beating each other up. ‘Faith, a word of advise. You’re an idiot’.

    When Gwen shoots lightning is creates some awesome special effects, she’s defeated after Buffy throws glass and cuts off her hand and the lightning burns her up.

    The beautiful scenes of Angel and Buffy were definitely the best and now their secret is finally out, now only Willow and Xander to go.

    All in all, Revelations had character development and some amazingly well written and directed scenes. But it also had some less pleasant storylines but those weren’t completely useless.

    Revelations is just another good episode of Buffy.
  • "You can’t trust people – I shoulda learned that by now" - Faith

    This is an interesting episode, because everything is not what it seems. It’s less about deception than self-deception, less about secrets revealed than trust. It’s not really a Buffy and Angel story, more a morality tale about Faith. Just as in the next episode, the catalyst, not really important to the story itself, sparking off all kinds of events and – ahem – revelations.

    At the beginning of the story, Faith and Buffy are buds (igniting thousands of slashfics as Buffy pretends that they are dating) – Buffy: “Synchronised slaying!” - Faith: “New Olympic category”, Buffy and Angel are still doing gratuitously half-naked and secret Tai-chi and Willow and Xander are still struggling with their clandestine lust. By the end of the episode, all secrets are out – Buffy is sprung, Gwendolyn is shown to be false and Faith is revealed as an easily played, distrustful, enemy-in-waiting.

    Giles is the most upset about Buffy’s keeping Angel a secret, yet the Scooby with the least to say. His motivation, whilst not being in the same league as Xander’s jealousy, Willow’s hurt, or Cordelia’s fear, is still a little less than pure. He is annoyed, not just because Buffy didn’t trust him enough to tell him, not just because Angel tortured him, but because Buffy has made him look foolish on front of Gwendolyn: “You have no respect for me or the job I perform”.

    Giles, after the shenanigans of the last episode, gets to act serious in this one, but again he has woman trouble. Buffy finds it amusing that it is he who is being quizzed for a change, but he doesn’t like the female version of himself. Perhaps Giles’s attitude to Buffy in the ep leads to her feelings toward him after the actions of Helpless – she feels the secret he keeps from her is worse than the one she kept from him.

    Talking of hypocrites, Willow may say Buffy can’t think straight when it comes to Angel, but surely it’s Xander who is never disinterested vis-à-vis Buffy’s beaux. He takes part in illicit snogging with Willow whilst condemning Buffy for hers. And although Willow makes it clear that the furtive nature of their relationship is part of the appeal, surely it’s Xander who has been seen to enjoy covert ops. He and Cordy in the closet, for example. Just as Buffy and Angel can’t stay away from each other, neither can Xander and Willow. Willow even wears a sexy top! She, the more emotionally intelligent of the two, forgives Buffy pretty quickly although she isn’t averse to giving bad advice: “Secrets aren’t bad things; they’re normal. In fact they’re better than normal, they’re good!” She wants to tell Buffy about her affair, but doesn’t have quite enough faith in her.

    Whilst people are having trust issues all over the place, Gwen, complete with Lilah-esque 40s femme fatale hairdo, has it easy in conning Faith and gaining her confidence. She plays divide and rule and soon has Faith on her side against the Scoobs. The worst part for Faith is believing that meetings and decisions are happening without her; she wants to feel part of the gang even if she chooses to stand outside of that group. She needs to feel that she can be part of it if she wants. Xander’s alliance with her is a little cheeky foreshadowing of the future but the last scene is even more so.
    Gwen has been vanquished, Buffy has shown herself to be the better Slayer by kicking Lagos’s butt, Faith has met Angel, the first Slayer fight has been deferred and Angel has (almost) redeemed himself in the gang’s eyes, Xander has atoned for his actions by telling Buffy he trusts her with Angel (although Cordy still doesn’t) and we expect Faith and Buffy to make up. Buffy, even though she was the victim of Gwen’s meddling, shows her generosity by telling Faith that she’s on her side. Faith rejects this, telling Buffy that she is on her own side. The whole Faith turning to the dark side story starts right here. Faith’s name is ironic, she doesn’t have faith in anything, not even herself. Gwen got it right when she told Faith that she was an idiot. As Giles’s guidance has helped Buffy become a good slayer, Faith’s watchers, dead, evil and idiotic (Wes) turn her into a bad one.

    One last thing: the council’s non-contact policy made it easy for Gwen to slip through the net and into Sunnydale – really, their admin systems must be in a state. Sending a memo isn’t really good enough if someone has been kicked out for “misuse of dark magicks”. I bet their filing cabinets are full of dodgy expense claims - no four star accreditation for them. Still, I suppose it’s hard to advertise for a good administrator when you’re an underground operation!

  • The third season hits just keep on coming!

    One of the things I like about the third season of Buffy is that it really represents the pinnacle as far as storytelling goes. There are so many good season 3 episodes, and "Revelations" is among the best. It's a lot darker than the episodes leading up to it, and because of that it really works. We see the old plot of Xander's jealousy towards Angel resurface in a big way this episode, and it's a welcome return. I'm of the opinion that this series was at it's best when dealing with this issue. Xander has obviously never stopped loving Buffy, even though he knows he can never be with her. That very fact has strengthened and cemented their friendship in a very powerful way. This episode is important for something else: it began planting the seeds of distrust between Buffy and Faith that would play a major role throughout the remainder of the season.
  • Xander discovers that Angel is back in our dimension, and making time with Buffy, as Giles is adjusting to the arrival of Faith's new watcher. But wait! Things are not as they seem!

    It's funny, "Revelations" takes on more serious themes than its two predecessors and yet it comes across as a lesser episode. It's certainly not the fault of the "Buffy" stuntmen. If you want to see every single regular on the show thrown across a room, knocked unconscious, or kicked in the face, this is a good place to turn. It continues the accidental but wonderful progress of the best individual disc in the "Buffy" library. It's funny how these things turn out. By sheer coincidence, these four episodes -- "Homecoming," "Band Candy," "Revelations," and "Lover's Walk" -- not only constitute a perfectly formed little mini-arc but also demonstrate perfect parallel structure. In the first two episodes, characters give in to their baser, more childish urges. In the second pair, recriminations abound.

    That said, "Revelations" doesn't have a perfect balance of signal to noise. The group's discovery of Angel's secret return should be the centerpiece of the episode, but it's a little drowned out by spectacular lightning effects and the deliciously over-the-top performance of Serena Scott Thomas as Gwendolyn Post. Mrs. Post is a great character but she seems a little misused here. I believe that the writers were trying to emphasize Buffy's separation from Giles through the device of a mirror Watcher-Slayer relationship between Faith and Post, but that all gets a little lost in all the nonsense about a Power Glove and Living Fire. Post isn't really around to put much of a dent into Faith, whose ultimate fate seems already sealed, but she does serve as a distraction for Giles, which takes a lot of the tension out of his conflict with Buffy regarding Angel.

    It certainly wasn't the writers' intention, but the important scenes here are the least attention-grabbing ones. There's Xander trying to manipulate Faith into killing Angel, the show's most reliably loyal character revealing a very ugly darker side. Willow's use of witchcraft is very quietly becoming something the gang will regularly rely on. It's very interesting indeed that in the "intervention" scene where the Scoobies confront Buffy about her harboring of the resurrected Angel, Oz and not Xander or Cordelia has the most damning rebuke to offer. It's very subtly played, but his love for Willow is causing Oz to step very tentatively out of his self-contained little world, even as Willow is smooching Xander behind his back. Most of this quiet stuff gets overlooked in the wake of the first big Buffy-Faith fight, the glove pyrotechnics, and many gratuitous shirtless Angel shots. It's not always easy to be at once great literature and popular teen entertainment.

    Let none of what I've just said imply that I don't like "Revelations," though. Really after a patchy start Season Three doesn't miss a beat, and it's only a matter of dividing the great from the near-great. "Revelations" falls short of the mark, if only because it's not always clear where its heart is. Then again sometimes uncertainty can be a good thing. Take my favorite scene in this episode, where an off-camera line from Giles causes a passionately embracing Willow and Xander to disengage. Does Giles see them making out and simply decline to comment, or is he actually oblivious? I like to think that Giles always knows what's going on, but either interpretation is equally valid. It's just one of the many intelligent touches that makes this show so thoroughly lovable.
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